As a big league umpire, Dale Scott saw maybe 1 million pitches from the field.
The veteran crew chief missed nearly the entire 2017 season after a foul ball off the bat of Baltimore slugger Mark Trumbo in Toronto on April 14 caught him hard in the mask, causing Scott’s second concussion in nine months and fourth in five years.
Within a few days, while undergoing treatment for head, neck and shoulder injuries, Scott realized it was the end of a major league career that began in 1985 and included three World Series assignments, three All-Star Games and 91 postseason games.
Scott worked 3,897 regular-season games and was a crew chief for 16 seasons, half his career.
Scott acknowledged his decision to retire might have been more difficult if his circumstances were different say, he was 40 and hadn’t worked the World Series.
Scott wonders about umpires who are cleared as part of the concussion protocol and then face the choice of continuing to work and risk further injury, or leaving the game.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter was in the dugout for Scott’s last game, when he was carried off the dirt at Rogers Centre on a spinal board.
Showalter was there, too, the first time Scott worked the plate in the postseason, in a 1995 AL Division Series matchup between Seattle and New York.
Among them, he was the plate umpire for Scott Erickson’s no-hitter, he worked a season-opening series in Australia, and was the last umpire to eject hot-tempered manager Billy Martin.
The first time Thomas batted, Scott called strike three.